We’re all in the royal family

COYNE: Perhaps we’ve grown out of our insecurities—and growing into the monarchy

We're all in the royal family

George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty Images

Even before Prince William and his bride Kate had arrived in Canada—before they had visited their first cancer patient, or listened to their first war vet, before they had thrilled hundreds of thousands in Ottawa or talked with street kids in Quebec or surveyed the efforts to rebuild Slave Lake, Alta.—the nation’s newspaper columnists were sounding the alarm at the invasion. When, they sighed, would Canada grow up? Wasn’t it time to slough off these last vestiges of colonial rule? Of all the irrational, outmoded ideas: to choose a head of state on the basis of heredity.

As the trip wore on—as the prince greeted crowds in English and French and Dene and Inuvialuktun, visited the cradle of Confederation in Charlottetown, played road hockey in Yellowknife—the pundits’ mood only seemed to grow sourer. These hicks waving happily at the couple as they passed: was it not obvious they were simply in the thrall of celebrity? Could they not see the prince and his glamorous consort for the foreigners they are?

Nothing new here. The same party-poopers write the same diatribes every time royalty comes to town. But they have seldom seemed quite so out of step with the times, so…dated. In truth it is not the monarchy that is outmoded, it is the critics, invariably of a certain age, who seem unable to escape a time when asserting the country’s identity meant rejecting not only monarchy, but a long list of things that were supposedly holding us back. Perhaps what we are discovering on this tour is that the country has grown out of such adolescent insecurities. Perhaps we’re growing into the monarchy.

Yes, they’re an attractive couple, and yes, they’re famous. But no ordinary celebrity inspires this kind of popular affection, or works so hard to deserve it. They’ve been compared to rock stars, but the cheers this kind young couple have elicited are not the kind you hear at a rock concert, but at a wedding reception: softer, warmer, more spontaneous. They may be newlyweds, but most of all, they’re family.

Heredity is not incidental to that. It has everything to do with it. A great part of the mystique of royalty is bound up in the idea of fate, the accidents of chance to whose remorseless rule we are all of us, high or low, subject. The prince, after all, had no choice in the matter. He did not seek to become prince, was not appointed to the job, or elected. He simply is. It is his fate, and as such his duty, which he performs, uncomplainingly.

Heredity may not be the appropriate means, in a democracy, for apportioning power or wealth, but to deny its symbolic role is foolish. The whole of society is organized around the family, whose express purpose is inheritance, genetic or otherwise. What is a nation but an extension of that: though not, in a liberal state, connected by blood ties, it can yet trace a kind of genealogy in its history, the collective inheritance that is the sum of many generations’ work.

Monarchy, then, is the symbolic representation of that idea, the passing of the generations in the house of Windsor mirroring the passing of the generations at large, back and back into antiquity. When we consider that it is our Crown, we are reminded that we are not, in fact, a young country at all. We are an ancient kingdom: first French, then British, now Canadian.

It’s quite delightfully homely, when you think of it: here you have this whole constitutional order, with all its laws and institutions, and at the very apex sits not a god or an ideology but…a family. Again, the symbolism is important. Our system may be based on many fine ideas, but all are subordinate to the imperative of humanism, that systems and ideas must always be judged by how they affect people’s lives, and not the other way around. If it is easier to be loyal to a person than a thing, it is perhaps because it is humanity that is thus being affirmed.

I could cite monarchy’s other symbolic roles: as a reminder, in its constrained, constitutional form, of the hard-won victory of democracy over absolutism; as a means of constraining, in its turn, the pretensions of elected politicians, who in bowing to the Queen (as it has been said) bow to us; as the personification of the state, embodying both the rule of law and popular sovereignty. But I think its particular function as the locus of loyalty is crucial.

Think of what goes on when the prince stops to chat with an elderly war vet. All of that history, all of that mystique, all of the cheers of the crowd, all of the hoopla that goes with royalty are at that moment channelled through him onto the object of his attention. All of the love and loyalty that is directed at him is now reflected back: the smile that lights up the vet’s face is the receipt of that exchange. I confess I cannot see anything wrong with this.


We’re all in the royal family

  1. Andrew, I guess you believe this BS, or you would not have written this fawning drivel. Most countries have long ago abolished the monarchy and it is long overdue that we assert our independence, instead of wallowing in this anachronistic, neo-colonialist sentiment.

  2. Andrew you’re usually right about so many things but when it comes to the monarchy you are dead wrong — embarrassingly so.

  3. Excellent synopisis Andrew : how right you are – it has never failed to amaze me how the collective wisdom of the average Canadain always and I repeat always stymies and mystifies the what I call malcontented, punditized, elitist class. There are changes taking place in canada that a lot of people especially those of the liberal bent, as it were are not going to like. Canada is by far and away more Conservative than it has been in a very long time and this trend will only increase – as well what we are witnessing now in our social gestalt, if you will is a maturing of our citizenry and I don’t mean just physically with the boomer bubble but politically. There is something very special about holding true to the best of one’s own history and not casting veveryhting off for the revolutionary fad and a funny word that libearas hate = HONOUR .. there is a deep collective note that is being touched by William and Kate and it connects us who want it to to our past and our future so that both can and will be honoured. To the anti-monarchist, anti- principled, anti-everything class I almost feel sorry for them.

    • You’ve managed to take an article about the Monarchy and use it to create a perception of a divide between Conservative’s and Liberal’s based on it, as well as paint a lovely picture of what makes a Liberal and a Conservative.
      Conservatives = mature, history lovers, monarchy lovers, honourable. Liberal = childish, trend followers, history deniers, dishonourable.
      Bravo.Hate to break it to you, but just because you are a conservative, doesn’t mean you’ll like the monarchy, and just because you are a liberal, doesn’t mean you don’t recognise and like the part they play in Canada. And just because you want to believe that liberals and conservatives fall into those neat little definitions you’ve created for yourself, doesn’t mean they do. They are human beings, first and foremost, afterall.

    • Why doesn’t Charles (and Camilla) elicit the same response – he is after all,  next in line?

      • I think most folks assume he is going to get railroaded. Its a damn shame, too, because Charles is a decent man. He has prepared for his moment all of his life, and can even say he was an environmentalist before it was cool. His greatest sin is  loving with a woman less attractive than Diana – if Camilla was a supermodel, people would have understood. 

      • charles wore camilla’s cuff links on his wedding day. he only wanted a virgin wife to satisfy his narcissistic self –  their love life was none existent after their second child. he basically forgot about her then and carried on with camilla. in short he is a vile chad.

        • Oh please … he was in love with Camilla all along but had to make a “suitable” choice for an actual bride and mother of the future king … it was supposed to have been a marriage of convenience but Diana and the rest of the world wanted it to be a fairy-tale it could never be … Charles and Camil;a are the true love story here … but Diana was so amazing in so many other ways it seems too disloyal to admit it … 

  4. Excellent…God Save the Queen!

    • And her fascist regime!

  5. Good article, why should we abandon all of our heritage?  We can embrace new cultures without abandoning our own. As for pcoq, did he check how many Monarchies are still in the world. None as large as ours – so not so prominent in news of the world, next time check your facts and stop whining!

    • Canadian  heritage has nothing to do with the monarcy and everything to do the first nations people.

  6. I think you expressed very well the thoughts of many of us. Monarchy is a natural system of leadership, and works very well with a democracy. Case in point: UK, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark. It will always be the best way to keep a nation together.

  7. As a transplanted American living in Canada, coming to terms with seeing the Queen of England on the money and in photographs – everywhere in this beautiful country, took some getting use to. We Americans gave up on royalty being a part of our family, and so those Americans who do follow the British royal family teased a bit.
    However, after reading your opinion, I can appreciate the fact that in homage to Canada’s amicable split from England, you are suggesting that by maintaining contact, alliances, Canada is able to move forward, fully embracing their maturity as a people, as a country; loosely tied to tradition while still evolving in its statehood. Your line, “First French. Then British. Then Canadian”, said it all.
    Nicely done. 

    • She is also the Queen of Canada. It is under that title that she is our head of state.

      • she keep the ownership but gave away everything else – save for the billion dollars the canadian government (and other countries) is legally required to send her every year.

        • uhm, do you have a source for that claim? most I have seen say $50 million including G-G and prov L-G’s – which are really a form of our government – does not benefit the Queen personally …

    • True, she’s the Queen of England, but she’s also the Queen of Canada, the Queen of Australia, the Queen of New Zealand, etc. etc. Andrew didn’t say this but he may as well have added the point that it’s not only our connection to our history being expressed in human form but our connection to the Commonwealth and its peoples. Those connections are natural and significant and the way Canadians easily move to the UK, Australia and NZ (and vice versa) speaks to the strength of those bonds that were forged through the Crown.

      • we have no affinity with new zealand other than it was once conquered by the British.  any strength we have is because we are a community of humans and that is our nature, not because of some rich family  thousands of miles away. Please stop talking about myths, propagated by pro elite propaganda.

        • Go to Whistler and throw a rock. After you’ve hit a Kiwi, call me. Be careful because the rock probably bounced off two Australians and they’re easy to confuse.

          When I’ve travelled to New Zealand or Australia I’ve had conversations with locals about this relationship. They recognize it exists; you can deny it. But there are shared histories, shared governmental structures, and components of their conception of themselves and their relationship to the UK and the Crown are similar.

      • Not to be too picky, but Elizabeth II doesn’t have the title of Queen of England.  She is Queen of the United Kingdom, etc…

        • Of course. I got caught in the framing of the original poster.

    • Coyne’s statement, “First French, then British, then Canadian.” is false. Anyone, ANYONE who knows the history of Canada knows the aboriginal peoples were here thousands of years before European contact. How did they benefit? The court cases are going on to this day, mostly for land claims and resident school abuses. This type of control is barbaric. Look at the history of Africa, India, the Caribbean, etc.  where British colonial rule was the enforced.
      It says it all, allright. It merely shows how studip some Canadians are, you I don’t know, but Mr. Coyne should know better!

  8. We still have a monarchy BECAUSE we’re insecure. It’s reassuring to have ‘Mother England’ hanging about.

    We tried Big Brother America,  but they’re always doing their own thing and beyond tousling our hair now and then in a speech with a complimentary line, they’re unreliable.

    However the UK…for it’s own reasons….loves its colonies, and we’re always ready to tug our forelocks.

  9. I have always had mixed, but not strong, feelings about the monarchy.  However, the older I get the more I appreciate the importance of history and tradition, and the monarchy is part of both in Canada.  And when I see this young couple taking on this role of service, lifting people’s spirits, touching the hearts of so many, I, too, cannot see anything wrong with this.

    • that is the power of propaganda – in modern terms “marketing the image” – it’s public relations, nothing more. In the ad business it’s ‘social engineering’.

  10. They are a delightful couple our William and Katherine; a refreshing breeze of youth, vigor and idealism make them an endearing couple .  
     Surely this beats the American way :  treating  their Politicians like  Royalty.  It wasn’t ‘ King Kennedy’  who died but rather ‘ JFK – Politician ‘  yet one  would never have guessed viewing his funeral procession with all its  pomp.    

    • Every American politician that has ever been treated like royalty–from George Washington to JFK to Barrack Obama–did something substantively influential in life to earn the power and wealth they eventually came to possess. 

      It was George Washington that led America to independence. Then it was JFK that sided with Martin Luther King over civil rights while the average white American watched with a face of dismay, discontent and curiosity all rolled up into one. At last it was Barrack Obama that showed the world someone other than a old white man could rule it. The common thing between the greatest of American politicians is their fame not because they held high positions, but because they did and achieved great things.

  11. I am a CANADIAN and I am a MONARCHIST! It is what makes us different from the U.S. We have a true democracy and our head of government is our Queen. Ad a CANADIAN born child I lived in England from the ageof 6 months to 10 years and I lived there through the war years, I knew I was a CANADIAN but I knew Imy country was part of the English family I am proud of my country its institutions its military. the fact that we are part of the comonwealth and that we have remained true to our past makes us strong. VIVA LIBRA CANADA.  All you people who doubt theworth and value of our relationship to the Queen of Canada should read the whole history of this country it shines like no otheer!!!!!!!

  12. A well stated position Andrew, by a man of his convictions.  
    Of course, we all know those convictions would turn on a dime if Kate ever came out in favour of train travel or mandatory lifejackets.

    • That is an impossible counter-factual. As Queen she would of course refrain from taking positions on matters of public controversy.

        • He is not yet the sovereign, ergo sit solvo oro.

        • it’s robber baron charles – thank you.

      • no one would care what she said anyway – when’s the last time this “queen” ever said anything important?

        • What the Queen says is important – it’s just not political.

  13. I have no problem pledging allegiance to a person or a family. They should be seen as the embodiment of what is best for the country and its people.  Being born into such a situation they do not have to play to the order of the day, like politicians, but can rather strive for what is best in society in the long run.   As one young monarchist wrote: ” I’d rather pledge allegiance to someone who has served me/my country for 60 years than to a piece of fabric [the flag]”.

    Perhaps the idea of monarchy is still uncomfortable, but to view their role in reality, the functions they preform, is to recognize the value in royalty. 

  14. God save our gracious Queen and all the royal house!

    • Mistakenly ‘liked’ that.  I could never think of myself as a subject.

  15. As a Canadian I find all this royal business somewhat perplexing; admitting that a Canadian head of state has his seat or her in this case, in a foreign country is strange. Let’s imagine for instance that the UK and Canada declared war on each other; how would the Queen being the commander in chief of our armies, respond to the Canadian troops attacking England? Would our generals have to sit back and wait for an order from this foreign queen to defend our country? I believe that this newly found interest of Canadians towards the royals is primarily caused by all this enthusiasm generated by the  US press about the forthcoming arrival of the prince and his bride to the US. The wedding also had a great deal to do with this sudden love for the royals. Let’s start to be realistic, let us rejoice at the occasional royal visits but at the same time let’s us run our own show when it comes to defending our shore then perhaps we’ll all feel a bit more united as a country.

    • I think we’d have to have one of them there tea parties. 

    • This would never happen – that’s why we belong to the Common Wealth, which means the Commonwealth of all people within its countries that belong to it. To protect each other. Read your history books to find out why there is a Common Wealth + what it means in so far as Defense, Alliances + Trade.  (Also William would be the Future King as Charles cannot take over as he is divorced, ties to the church state that no Royal who is divorced can proceed to the Throne. As this contravenes the rules of the Church of England, which the King would be the Head of).  If my memory of History is correct.

      • Charles is next in line.  He had a civil marriage and then a Blessing Ceremony – at which he was forgiven of his sins and his civil marriage was blessed by the Archbishop of C.

        • It really does not matter if he had a civil ceremony + then blessed by Arch
          bishop he still cannot reign as king. Same way as he could not marry in
          church. The Queen’s Uncle abdicated his crown so he could marry Wallace, a
          divorced women, making his brother. the Queens father King, Queen Elizabeth
          then became next in Line.
          I myself was married to a divorced man in a civil ceremony and then could
          have been blessed in church, but still could not be allowed marriage in a
          church of God. The reigning Monarch is the churches representative for God
          on Earth, in the Church of England, (Prodestant Faith) which would be the
          next King. This eliminates Charles.
          The Arch Bishop just recognized the marriage, and gave Gods blessing. But
          written in the constitution a divorced Royal can never reign.

          • You will need to back that up because it will be news. Churches are amazing at having rules, and when something awkward comes up, having a way to skirt them.  The Catholic church has the annullment, where marriages just disapear. 

          • I should have said ‘protector of the Faith’, you may well be right, but we
            will have to watch that ‘space’, but I will guarantee there will be an
            uproar either way. One thing different with The Church of England than the
            Catholic Church is, the British Government has some involvement, and can
            advise the Monarchy and visa versa, and they represent the people. And for
            sure the people of the British Isles are known for protesting loudly at
            something they find unjust, something of which the British Government are
            aware of. Anyway glad I’m not the one that has to sort that mess out. The
            Queen just might out live Charles anyway and then William will automatically
            be in line, anyway she’s hanging on tooth + Nail for now!

          • tripe

        • It will be likely that Charles would abdicate allowing his son to reign.
          Cannot see British People accepting Charles has King, even if he may be in
          line. No one would except Camilla has Queen apparent.

          • He may decide not to be King, but he is eligible.

      • good thing the “royals” can still have their multiple affairs and treasonous acts

        • Hopefully with past events the “Royals’ will have learned and are trying to
          put away with outdated practices. This kind of stuff has being going on for
          years, but with media coverage as it is today, a ‘wake up call’ has been
          acknowledge. I like the Royal family, but like everyone else don’t always
          agree with the way they conduct themselves. But has with anyone with
          privilege, money, power + connections, it is easy to see how taking
          advantage, or abuse of their position can be attained.
          I truly hope the ‘New Royals’ will conduct themselves in a decent manner and
          continue to do what is expected of them.
          It certainly isn’t a life I would have wished to be born into. There is so
          much we don’t see, that they do for the good of the People, and if the
          People truly want to see an end to the Royal Family, has with many
          countries, already, they would not continue to exist, by opting to become a
          republic. Then they would just be like any other rich and powerful family
          still doing what the rich and famous do, with no accountability whatsoever,
          from the general public.
          Many things have changed for The Royal Family over the generations, its not
          the same as in previous centuries. The Royal Family have their own wealth,
          and anything else that comes through the Common Wealth they do not own, and
          are not allowed to own, its stored away and can only be used on loan for
          certain state and other occasions.

      • The Commonwealth (one word) means absolutely nothing more than the ability to participate in the sporting contests and attend some meetings. Defence hasn’t been part of the Commonwealth since, well, it stopped being an Empire and became the Commonwealth. Would we go to war with the U.K.? Probably not, because they have a much larger military than us and are part of an actual military alliance that Canada is party to, NATO.

        Charles remains crown prince, the only way a marriage could prevent his ascension to the throne would be if he married a Catholic. 

  16. The idea that by law no Canadian can grow up to be the head of the country is more than a little repugnant. The fact that by law no Catholic, Muslim, Budist, Sikh etc can grow up to be the head of the country is equally repugnant. Kind of like how no black man grew up to run the plantation.

    It is interesting to see Andrew tickled pink by the idea of Canadians spending millions every year supporting a professional welfare bum and his wife while at the same time railing against the incomprehensible waste of money that the mail carriers are. Mail carriers are a lot cheaper and at least serve a purpose. Maybe some one should hand the royals a stack of Canadian Tire flyers to lug around with them if they are going to be here.    

    • Your user name says it all…” a welfare bum and his wife”. This young man is serving in the military…I guarantee you haven’t and never will. A crass,ignorant remark directed at someone who cannot answer back and which will be ignored by the majority of Maclean’s readers.

      • It is entirely possible to have a minor smokescreen role in the British military while also receiving copious amounts of money at the side from the government – or haven’t you heard of the way the British monarchy produce photo op after photo op desperately hoping to get the common man to accept the ill circumstances of his own own slavery?

      • He isn’t serving in our military but we are paying for him and serving can mean so many things and those things aren’t the same for him as they are for some kid from Burmingham.

    • Especially given Harper’s refrain that ‘Canada is not country of who you know’. He’s such a merit booster -or at least he was during the election. 

  17. Another journo besotted by this young couple. If Royal newlyweds were a product (I guess in hindsight they are) these scribes have bought the lot. Its amazing what good PR and Marketing can achieve – even among the so called cynics, which is what journos are supposed to be.

    Those who state Monarchies in other countries work fine just a short reminder. I’m no expert so I’ll take your word for it but please note they are in their own home countries not the colonies like Canada. Our Monarch is in England and did you know was also head of the Anglican Church which discriminates against RC’s in some fashion.

    I think they are probably the most in touch, sensitive and empathetic of the Royal Family to set foot in Canada in my lifetime. Kate is a marvellous person and knows she should get down to the level of all those wonderful little girls giving her flowers. These children will not soon forget the eye to eye contact from a real life Duchess. I did not sense the pomposity of Charles in William. He has his mom’s nature without the shyness.

    I thoroughly enjoyed their visit and they are great ambassadors for the Monarchy but I’m still pro-Republican. That does not make me anti-monarchy, they are fine people, and I would want to continue our relationship with the Commonwealth. I just want our Head of State to be a Canadian and perhaps even another religion besides Anglican.

  18. “What is a nation but an extension of that”

    How about a collection of equals for starters.  C’mon Andrew… for someone who churns out so much good stuff to be blunt your ongoing fanciful support of monarchism is just a shocking flaw.  The republic of Canada is inevitable because it is matter of principle.   Just a matter of time.

  19. Love Will and Kate … they are wonderful ambassadors for the monarchy, and though the Queen of England may be queen to what? 15 other foreign countries, we Canadians get be a bit proud that we were the first tour outside the UK.  

    But I’m not a monarchist at heart. To me, the Queen of Canada and her heirs are another anachronism – a feature of Canadian history that we never really chose for ourselves, haven’t gotten around to changing, and wouldn’t know what we would change it to if we did.  And well, I’m not French but if I were, I might be a little miffed about the reminder of that lost battle and the English yoke that followed … 

    I have lived in other countries – including Australia and the UK – and travelled elsewhere, and though I am always glad to come home to Canada, going other places always makes me more aware of the lack of a Canadian identity – who are we? That answer seems clearer in other places … 

    And though the  picture may have changed over my life time (which is not THAT long yet), for me the level fuzziness has remained the same … and so when we talk about our Canadian symbols, like the monarchy, it just seems to be another blob in a unfocused photograph, meaningless or with less meaning until the rest of the context becomes clear …

  20. Just a side note for the chattering and scribbling classes to ruminate on while they have been overcome by the lovely young couple.

    Save the rumination for a spell after you folks have come back down to earth.

    The Queen of England is head of the Church of England, which we call Anglican. The Head of State in the UK can be no more than a member of the Church of England.

    In strict terms this violates Canada’s constitution given it discriminates against other religions.  Its interesting we have a Head of State who is unconstitutional.  Sink your teeth into that one for a time.

  21. Wow, I truly can’t disagree more. Why can’t we save the royals some trouble and elect our own ceremonial figurehead (preferably one with a fixed term–a “governor general” without a direct line to Mother England)? This is one constitutional nightmare I wouldn’t mind resolving within my lifetime, even if it does take ten provinces. 

    I’m as sentimental as the next person (and a dual citizen with the UK, and an Anglican, and a traditionalist in many respects…), but this is just nonsense. I sincerely wonder if other members of the royal family (Charles and Camilla, for instance) would have been granted the same reception as the attractive, fashionable couple-du-jour. 

  22. Wow, I am not a “die hard” Republican, but this is BS – Unbelievable

  23. Wonderful article. I can’t think of anything more dismal than any possible alternative to the Sovereign as head of state. There’s always going to be someone to say “When will Canada grow up?” It’s predictable whenever the Royal Family is in the news that we’ll hear that from exactly the demographic you identified in this article. The fact is, we grew up a long, long time ago and Canada is no longer a young country but, as you say,an ancient kingdom. This Royal Visit was a tour de force and fills me with optimism for the future. The haters of our Canadian monarchy (who refuse to grow up) have had a very bad week. God save the Queen.

    • You’ve made an erroneous, illogical, and fallacious leap to suggest Republicans hate the monarchy.  Got any other fatuous observations lad?

  24. I don’t know you nor do I know your work as a journalist but I thought your column about the undemocratic senate was quite good but now I read your ramblings on the undemocratic monarchy and wonder why is one undemocratic and the other isn’t. After all, in both cases the Canadian public has had no say in these choices but then again we are just a quasi-democratic country not a true one. I disagree with you entirely when you say having as our head of state a British foreigner is okay because we were a British colony. As far as I’m concerned we still are a British colony and until we cut that umbilical cord, always will be. In other words we are not our own independent people. Another strange coincidence is that all the big industrial countries with the exception of Britain, which is sinking fast,and Japan whose monarchy is viewed differently, are republics and this includes two of the fastest rising ones, Brazil and India. Most of these republics had monarchies at one time but for one reason or another did away with them, some violently, but little Canada needs her queen or king to look up to or as the monarchists would probably say, their “betters.” Finally, it is a position of selfishness on our part that we force this family to continue in their roles as royalty when we are free to do and say almost anything we want because we’re not under the microscope like they are.

  25. Since Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy and the Head of State is the Queen,  for the forseeable future, since it is impossible to get 10 provinces to agree on anything, especially to become a Republic—I think the government should invite one of the Royals to be the next Governor-General—like Prince William or Prince Harry ?   Who but a Royal would be the BEST representative of the Monarch.  A Royal would make the monarchy more relevant to Canadians instead of just some entity from somewhere over the distant ocean, as well as be a CELEBRITY, to draw crowds and tourists to events the Royal would be in attendance at.  The— have been GGs— were just NObody of importance filling a position.  A Royal would bring Celebrity pomp and pageantry to the boring government.  Somebody has to fill the position and get paid for the job,  may as well be someone of Celebrity Royal status.  Since ALL religions are just a pile go DOGs**t, a personal idiosyncrasy, a Royal’s church affiliations would have NO influence in a secular Canada.  I would hate to live in a Canada that would be just a state of America—a government full of corruption, bribery, payola, run by greedy corporations—certainly NOT democratic.  The Monarchy at least provides some stability for a government full of BIG-EGO politicians wanting to be dictators.  It would be difficult to satisfy everyone, but does anybody have much choice now ? ?  A Royal GG would be an interesting novelty.

    • Absolutely not. If the Charter must be torn asunder and our country cast into turmoil in order to change us into a republic, then so be it, but our head of state AND governor general will not both be helmed by hereditary welfare cases. Canadians of all races and religions must be able to see that they too, through hard work and sacrifice, can lead Canada to greatness.

      • Unfortunately the odds are that a Republic of Canada will not exist.  Openning the Constitution to change will bring about the partitioning into many separate countries.  Quebec will get its sovereignty.  Alberta will go on its own too.  Newfoundland, too.  BC will follow.  What will be left ? ?  Ontario ?  etc.   Then the politicians will sell each country to the Corporations and there will be nothing but dictators—installed by the elite—to rule .  Just like Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Gaddaffi in Libya, in Afghanistan, and every other country that the CIA  controls.   A new kind of COLONIALISM ! !   I am a pensioner and hope I do not live long enough to see the destruction of Canada. I prefer the stability and peace that we have had so far.. 

  26. Since Canada is a constitutional Monarchy and the Queen is the Head of State and will be for some time into the future—since trying to get all 10 provinces to ever agree on anything, especially to become a Republic, is next to impossible—who but a Royal would be the BEST representative of the Monarch.  It would be novel for the government to invite one of the Royals to be the next Governor-General—like Prince William.  A Royal in this position would bring the royalty closer to Canada,  not just some entity from somewhere across the ocean,  and would also be a CELEBRITY position—bringing out the crowds and tourists to see the Royals at different events throughout Canada—since the governors-general of the past have been “just  NObodies”—no one of interest—only holding a position for ceremonial purposes.  A Royal would do the same but with the CELEBRITY status—the pomp and pageantry of history.  Since ALL religions are just a pile of DOG-s**t—a personal idiosyncrasy,  a Royal Governor-General’s church affiliations would have no influence in a secular state. Somebody has to fill the position.  A royal doing his duty would be much more interesting.  I am not a monarchist but I would hate Canada to be an American state—a government system  full of corruption, bribery, payola, under corporate control—certainly  NOT  democratic !   The Monarchy, at  least, provides stability in a government full of BIG-EGO politicians.   

  27. Yet the Canadian senate is intolerable.  

  28. Dennis The Peasant:

    “Oh, King, eh? Oh, very nice… And how’d you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers! By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society! If there’s ever gonna be any progress in our society… 

    Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony ….. You can’t expect to wield supreme power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!!”


    I am anti-government, anti-privilege, anti-nepotism but I support Monarchy. In theory, I agree with Dennis, and many others, that Monarchy is not suitable for democracy but in practice Westminster/Monarchy model of Government is the best humans have created so far and I don’t like to tinker with practical success. 

    I also like Monarchy because it divides Canadians on non-partisan basis. Many Canadians who can’t stand politics went out to see our future King and Queen and I find that pro-Monarchy, pro-Republic supporters do not follow party affiliations, which is also refreshing.

    • The only reason the monarchy doesn’t follow tightly defined partisan lines is because most people think of it in jest, when it is really a tacit infringement on our right to elect people we want to represent us.  

      The United States is arguably the greatest example against monarchy that exists now, just as it was the greatest threat to communism in years past. It has its problems, but no one can deny its tremendous influence on the world, the greatness on its Constitution, and the combined brilliance of its population. The first nation to reach the moon as well as the first to create the atomic bomb – America has always been a land of great leaps and stumbles. But who can say Americans are not free?

  29. I couldn’t agree with you more Andrew.
    We have a history and should be proud of it.
    Canada is a prosperous country, and if our heritage had, or had not, something to do with that, I am glad.

    • We used to do some pretty nasty things to the native population the mentally ill, women and others. Should we be proud of that as well just because it is part of our history?

  30. I don’t mind (or respect) that people are excited by celebrity, even when it is as arbitrary as this case is, but the proposal that those of us who are not excited, that those of us who think it Silly, need to grow up? 


    I’ve seen teen girls crazy for Elvis, the Beatles, and Justin Bieber. I see this excitement about the Royals precisely the same. Are the screamers lining the streets thinking about History? No. It’s just another celebrity in a world that is so devoid of real heroes that fans will seize upon anything. 

    It makes me sad to see, and I am really really tired of headlines about their honeymoon. 

    Now if any of them used their celebrity to advance our atrophied social causes, if they actually engaged in some way other than showing off how cute they look in cowboy hats? 

    Then I might feel some respect. 

    Right now? Nope!

  31. Geez Andrew, what a load of sentimental claptrap.

    I have no big issue with the monarchy.  It’s just one more dusty anachronistic institution.  I wouldn’t lift a finger to get rid of it or save it – I simply don’t care.

    However, I am starting to resent the amount of press coverage they have received.  It seems like they are headline news no matter what they do or where they go.  Serious stories are getting pushed aside for what amounts to celebrity stalking.

    So, Will and Kate, I’m sure you are both very nice people.  I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Canada.  I hope everyone has treated you well.  I hate to sound rude but now I’d like you to go home and don’t be in a hurry to come back.  We’re not a colony anymore and we have lots of issues to address.  Your presence here is simply a distraction.

  32. It is refreshing to read a columnist who understands the role of history in shaping the present.  Coyne’s view of the monarchy and democracy echo Tocqueville’s description of the 2 sorts of patriotism:  one founded on the love of one’s birthplace, personified by the father and the monarch; the other a rational patriotism that binds a man to a democratic country because the laws are of his own making.  The first type of patriotism is instinctual and critical in time of crisis when self-sacrifice is required, but ineffectual in time of peace when reason must be applied to the resolution of complex issues; the second is more enduring and creative, but is mingled with self-interest and therefore less useful when the country is imperiled.  Tocqueville would be gratified to see a constitutional monarchy that links both types of patriotism.    

  33. Coyne’s view of the role of monarchy in a democracy echoes Tocqueville’s description of the 2 sorts of patriotism:  one founded on the love of one’s birthplace, personified by the father and the monarch; the other a rational patriotism that binds people to a democratic country because the laws are of their own making.  The first is instinctual and critical in time of crisis when self-sacrifice is required, but ineffectual in peace when reason must be applied to the resolution of complex issues; the second is more enduring and creative, but is mingled with self-interest and therefore less useful in times of peril.  Tocqueville would be gratified to see a constitutional monarchy that links both types of patriotism.    

  34. To the contributor who claims Brits don’t fawn and grovel like colonials (Canadians?) do, I would suggest that if he is not originally from the UK, he move over there and see what a class system looks like, a society where you are marked and measured by your regional accent which in turn can affect your job choice and association with others.and this flows down directly from the aristocracy at the top. About the only way to break through this barrier is to be a top footballer or a rock star – in other words a celebrity. The Americans got rid of the institution over 200 years ago and went on to become, ironically, the successor to the British Empire in power and development while Britain has continued to decline and Canada, still tied to the mother country’s apron strings, has gone nowhere. Come on monarchists, give the republicans a kick at the can and I know you’ll see a “go-getter” country in a few years time.

  35. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Canadian monarchism is not unrelated to our acceptance of multiculturalism. We are – a coterie of provincial hicks, some English, some French, some any manner of other group. However, the monarchy is a longstanding institution that has never forced us to choose between identities – we can be Canadians AND citizens of the Commonwealth, just as new Canadians can maintain emotional ties to the traditions of their homelands, while still being good Canadians. When it comes to love of country, Canadians are polygamists, and that’s okay.

  36. Oh Andrew, I love this!

    “When we consider that this is our crown. We are reminded that we are not in fact, a young country at all. We are an ancient kingdom: first French, then British, now Canadian.”

    I wish people could understand and embrace Canada’s history with an open mind, it is so rich!

    They are such a charismatic couple, unlike other Royals. Another thing is, Prince William is the continuation of his mother, we all want to see that happy ending. He is definitely becoming his very own man, he is very down to earth, it feels at times like he is so surprised by the attention and he is doing things his own way, bringing the Monarchy to another level, more accessible, it is going to be very cool when he becomes King!

  37. Et tu, Andrew?  Can we have our news back?

  38. I would agree pcoq. One would think after what the country has gone through with the Quebec Referendum that we would have established a firmer grip on our “identity” without the “king and queen” thing. And after all that history has shown us as to how the British Empire and Commonwealth funneled most of the wealth of the world to “the sceptred isle” we could establish a better model of a nation without having to continue these “pats on the head” from our previous owners. That we have to thank Quebec for stirring up the pot just indicates how the fight between les francais and the English is very much on-going. Our focus and energy and in particular reference to the Media should be directed to the state of “our” union without the celebrity of monarchy or Hollywood. It is a sad observation that when a nation-state’s citizenry worships a Lady Gaga or fairy-tale prince and princesses just what “the state of the union” is. Dark forboding

  39. An excellent article that communicates the value of a historical perspective and the power of symbolism in human society.

    We are all human beings that live in and come from families, no matter their construction. Having the symbolic parts of our constitution represented by an ancient family with historical ties going back centuries, especially one that understands and accepts its symbolic role, is certainly an apt means of demostrating the value of the family unit in our society and mirroring our basic humanity in the very structure of governance.

    Better that than the dictitorial model we otherwise seem to flirt with.

  40. Thanks Andrew. I can’t see anything wrong with this either. Nor have I for all the decades I’ve been alive.

  41. I think Mr. Coyne has missed the point. “First French, then British, now Canadian.”  The First Nations were the subjects of colonization and instead of going point-by-point in a long list of injustices, may I remind you that colonization is not a history or “heritage” to be proud of. The damage is done, not just in Canada but in all countries around the world that suffered colonization.
    I believe that most Canadians are very politically immature. To them, Will and Kate are just our version of celebrities. Grown women still playing with dollies.  I noticed that there was a two-page spread in Macleans of Kate’s dresses worn during her trip here. It reminded me of cut out paper dolls. Who cares? Why aren’t Canadians more politically involved? That’s the bigger question. I am half English, my father originating from Bath, but I do not believe in a monarchy. If Will and Kate wish to visit Canada, that’s just fine, UNDER THEIR OWN STEAM. Many Canadians cannot afford a vacation this year, or any year. Why are we footing the bill for this?

  42. If you are a political junkie, then you would immediately recognize that Mr. Coyne’s statement, first French, then British, now Canadian is entirely FALSE. Is this the kind of political student Canada is producing? Can’t anyone think beyond their own safe little “history” or “heritage.” At least thirty thousand years earlier, peoples arrived in North America from Asia and developed their own culture, beliefs, their own lives. This is not unique to Canada, but all countries that were colonized. Silly student of politics . . . go read a book!

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